Sunday, September 23, 2007
The car analogy
Friday on my way to Lancaster I had some car trouble. I managed to drive the 10, 215, and 15 without any trouble at all, no indication of the trouble that lay ahead even. But about half way across the 18 I was driving behind a semi and was stuck at about 60 mph. The RPMs were rev'd up to 4000, but I figured the car was just at that spot where it was too slow to switch gears but too slow to lower the RPMs....that was until I had the opportunity to pass and hit the gas and the RPMs hit 7000 and there was no speeding up. Oh man. I tried again, same thing. this is not good! I pulled over and switched to 2nd, to drive, to neutral, and back to drive wondering if maybe the gears had simply slipped. No good. I called an old friend who trained to be a mechanic and asked his advice: maybe the transmission fluid is low. I pulled off and checked it--a little low, but nothing too bad. This time when I went back to drive, I couldn't get over 20mph without maxing the RPMs, so I switched to 2nd and kept on driving. I called around, asked more advice, told the people who were expecting me I was having difficulty and would get there when I could.
I stopped at a gas station and bought transmission fluid and called my mechanic friend back (ashamedly I didn't know where to put my recent purchase). We talked some more and he decided maybe I shouldn't add it, just drive to town if I could and then get help there. So I hit the road again at my top speed of 55mph and pulled into Lancaster. I tried stopping into Pep Boys for help, but they decided the problem was too big for them and sent me on my way. Saturday morning I drove my car to the dealer and left it with them. They wouldn't be able to touch it until Monday when their trani guy comes in. So, I left my car and waited to get a rental. While I waited, an area pastor and friend took me and his son to breakfast. We talked cars and he suggested I get mine fixed and then sell it while it still has fewer than 100,000 miles and go for something with better mileage and that has potential of lasting to 200,000 miles. He test drives cars and suggested a Nissan Versa. The conversation was actually somewhat comic.
J: I'm driving the Nissan versa right now, I'd really recommend it.
J: Yeah. I recommended it to my sister and she bought one, and I recommended it to a parishioner and he bought two.
D: I'm a Honda girl. We've always had Hondas, is the Nissan comparable?
J: Oh yeah. In order to compete with Honda the other companies have had to step it up. And actually, when you go to buy the car Nissan includes a bunch of extra stuff at no extra cost because they have to make the car appealing. Honda will only include it at a cost.
J: Yep, you get a 6 disc cd changer, extra airbags, etc, etc...
D: But J, I'm a Honda girl. I'm kinda like an old time parishioner on this. I've never tried a Nissan.
J: Well, maybe you need to buy a Honda then....
Our conversation was reminiscent of how I think my congregants view my *hair brained* worship ideas. They are used to driving a Honda (read: traditional worship), they've always driven a Honda, they trust it, it's reliable, they'd recommend it to others. If they are gonna request something it's gonna be a Honda. Then here I come and I recommend a Nissan (read: contemporary, gospel, spanish, or emergent worship). Now I've driven the Nissan, I like it, it's comfortable, it drives well, it's fun and sporty. I tell everyone I know to drive the Nissan. And then my congregants look at me and say, "But pastor, we've always driven a Honda. What's wrong with the Honda?" Nothing is wrong with the Honda, but the Nissan is great, why not give it a try? "Well Pastor, 'cause we've always driven the Honda."
Today I had my congregation take a little "test drive". We sang a prayer and mixed up "This is the day" and actually sang it call and response. They really liked the car analogy, many came up to me after worship and told me which car they drive, like, recommend, etc. I promised they didn't have to trade in their Honda, only that they should give the Nissan a test drive!